Known for her vibrant, intelligent portrayals of women who run the gamut from cold-blooded killers to long-suffering wives, Miranda Richardson is one of the British cinema's foremost purveyors of elegant, energetic dysfunction.
Born in Southport, Lancashire, on March 3, 1958, Richardson began acting in school plays and left school at the age of 17 to study drama at the Bristol Old Vic Theatres School. Following her graduation, she acted in repertory theatre, becoming affiliated with Manchester's Liberty Theatre in 1979. Obtaining her Equity card, Richardson performed in a number of regional productions before moving on to the London stage in 1981. While performing on the stage, she also began acting on television and then in film. Her first big break came when she was cast as the real-life Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed for murder in Britain, in Mike Newell's Dance with a Stranger (1985). Her astonishing performance as a woman destroyed by her dependence on her loutish lover (played by a sulky Rupert Everett) earned wide critical acclaim, but Richardson remained fairly unknown outside of Britain.